Ohio State University in $375m parking lease

The university’s board voted last week to authorise a concession of the school’s parking meters and other assets for up to 50 years. In return, Ohio State University expects a minimum payment of $375m

Ohio State University (OSU), one of the US’ largest universities, has authorised a potential privatisation of its parking meters.

The OSU board of trustees voted on Friday to permit a lease of the university’s parking systems for up to 50 years in return for compensation of at least $375 million. The university is now authorised to issue a request for qualifications, which has not yet been released.

OSU expects to make about $600 million in revenues and avoided costs over the term of the lease, according to a statement.

The lease could include any parking spaces, meters and “ancillary parking assets” owned or operated by OSU, according to a presentation by the finance committee of OSU’s board of trustees.

The private operator will be allowed to raise rates by up to 7.5 percent during the first ten years of the concession, according to the presentation. After the initial 10-year term, the private operator can raise rates annually by either 4 percent or by the percentage increase in the US Consumer Price Index – a popular inflation indicator – whichever is greater.

OSU spokesperson Shelly Hoffman said the university has not undertaken a comparable lease or concession of its parking meters in the past. She said OSU was looking to lease its parking assets now in order to raise funds for other educational and infrastructure projects across the university. 

OSU, located in Columbus, Ohio, has about 65,000 enrolled students and a 1700-acre campus, according to the school’s website.